Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Friends Arena will host Thursday’s World Cup qualifier between Sweden and Czech Republic, who face each other in the playoffs semis. The Swedes failed to impress in back-to-back defeats to Georgia and Spain, and, as a result, they eventually clinched second position in Group B. Manchester United rising star Anthony Elanga has received a call-up, while Milan veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic is widely expected to lead the line for the hosts.
The Czechs, on the other hand, will rely on Bayer Leverkusen attacker Patrik Schick, who has overcome a muscle injury. Given the attacking potential of the two sides, we believe that there is a big value in betting on both teams to score. When the two teams met in a friendly back in March 2016 they played out a 1-1 draw.
Highlighted Player (Pontus Jansson):
Sweden international defender Pontus Jansson started his career at a local club Arlovs Bl before moving to Swedish giants Malmo in 2006. Three years later the talented centre-back was given his first-team debut, off the back of a highly successful season which saw his pick up a prestigious Academy Player of the Year award.
During his five-year stay with Malmo Jansson went on to play 98 league matches, score 6 goals and impose himself as a commanding presence for his club. A ball-playing central defender who likes to keep things clean and simple, Jansson boasts impressive composure and never backs under pressure. The Swedish defender was plucked by the Serie A side Torino in 2014 where he failed to make his big international break.
Three years into his stay in Italy – and a season-long loan at Leeds United after – Pontus Jansson moved to Elland Road on permanent basis. His work-rate, great positioning and impressive physicall ability made him one of the hottest properties in the summer of 2018 with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and other Premier League sides expressing interest in high services, but Jansson opted to remain at Leeds and work under Marcelo Bielsa.
Highlighted Team (Czech Republic):
Czech Republic national team is the natural successor of the Czechoslovakia side that dominated world football during the 20th century, winning one European Championship trophy and coming second at 1934 and 1962 World Cups. After the separation of the country in 1992, Czech Republic continued the proud tradition by qualifying for each of the next six European Championship finals, losing to Germany in the final of the 1996 tournament.
The Czechs also reached the last eight at the 2012 finals, but their World Cup record of late is pretty disappointing. Since separating from Slovakia, Czech Republic only qualified for one of five World Cup finals. The 1996 generation, featuring players like Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky and Patrik Berger, will forever remained etched in the fans’ memory, while the likes of Milan Baros, Jan Koller, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky are some of the other notable footballers.
Highly rated goalkeeper Petr Cech is the team’s most capped player, whereas towering forward Jan Koller tops the goalscoring charts with 55 strikes in 91 games.